ISLAMABAD  (APP) - The mushrooming construction of the residential and commercial buildings continue to annex the space, earmarked for graveyards, further shrinking them across the country. Pakistan's annual mortality rate around 8.45 people per 1,000 indicates that only for Rawalpindi, with a population of around three million, around 120 kanals of new land was required for burials every year. "My aunt died this year and we were worried about the place for her burial because there was no space at the graveyard in our locality," said Mohammad Sharif. On the other hand, gravediggers are preparing new graves over old or unattended graves. Many graveyard administrators or management committees are allowing only those who are living very close to graveyards to bury their dead because of limited space. If the authorities plan graveyards for the next 10 years, they will have to acquire or spare 1,200 kanals of land divided in four 300-kanal portions. Another option is to have a single graveyard twice as large as the city's largest Eidgah graveyard. The proposed graveyards need to be developed at different spots around the city because no space is available in more than 90 percent of the city's graveyards. Several graveyards in the city have no boundary walls, access paths and lights and many of them were encroached by land-grabbers and criminals. The land shortage at graveyards is people's major concern, but the city government has no data on graveyards except that Eidgah graveyard is the oldest and biggest graveyard of Rawalpindi city. A senior official of Tehsil Municipal Authority (TMA), Malik Mehruban told the agency that they have lists of graveyards in the city which show that space problem was worsening day by day. City Nazim Raja Javed Akhlas said that it is the responsibility of town nazims to look into the  the issue of graveyards because they had all resources to execute such projects. He, however, said that a new graveyard on a piece of 2,000 kanal of government land has been made at Rakh, Dhamyal, with facilities of a Janazgah, water supply, boundary wall but the people are reluctant to take their dead for burial there as it is beyond the reach of many people. He proposed large graveyards outside the city like in Karachi and Islamabad. About people's problems regarding the cost of taking their dead to graveyards outside the city, the nazim said town administrations or graveyard managements should provide transport for the purpose. He added that the main problem the people were facing is lack of transport facility as the TMA has only two buses for burial purpose.He said that two more buses would be purchased for this purpose in the upcoming budget. Javed Akhlas hoped that the people would start burring their dead in the new graveyard once the transport problem was resolved. Opposing the idea to develop large graveyards outside the city, an official of city district government told APP that not everybody could take their dead outside the city. He said that government had enough land inside the city where graveyards could be developed. "New housing societies are selling the land they had earlier allocated for graveyards," he said, adding that the authorities concerned should monitor the affairs of the new housing societies to check the space shortage problem at graveyards. Javed Akhlas said that all graveyards of the city including Eidgah, Shan Talian, Kuri Road, Pirwadhai, Dhok Khaba (Hameed Khan Road), Dhok Illahi Baksh (Omar Road), Rata Amral, Dhok Kashmirian, Mughul family and Mohalla Raja Sultan have filled and were short of land but the grave-diggers were digging new graves on unattended graves. He said every graveyard has management committee consisting of officials of TMA and non-official members. The committee simplified procedures for the burials of the dead and appointed an administrator at the graveyard. They charge fees from the people and look after the graveyards. Rawal Town Nazim Sheikh Rashid Shafique said all the graveyards had run out of space and most of others would be full within one year, adding that problem was the result of lack of town planning. He proposed four graveyards of 100 acres each as people buried their dead in graveyards in other towns. He said the people demanded graveyards in their municipalities. The nazim said philanthropists used to donate land to graveyards in the past, but now they have abandoned the practice because of increase in the land prices. He said that former interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao had allotted a piece of six kanals of land on IJ Principal Road for a new graveyard but the project could not be materialised due to red tape. There is no system of floodlights at the graveyards to stop criminals from entering the graveyards, cleanliness of the graveyard and computerisation of the burials' record, said Haroon Shah, a local resident. Some of the old families like Khokhar, Rajgan, Chaudhry and Mughal have their own graveyards but most of the people bury their dead in the city's old graveyards. Some of the people have encroached the green built near Zia Masjid to bury their dead as they have no alternative space for it. Keeping in view Pakistan's 2.03 percent population growth rate and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities' (UNFPA) figures - 35.9 births per 1,000 people and 9.6 deaths - land availability situation at graveyards after a decade or so is obvious, especially when Pakistan will be the fourth largest country with a projected population of around 204 million by 2015. Some international experts also foresee 30.42 births per 1,000 and 8.45 deaths per 1,000 in the future.